Apple appears to be running preliminary tests with a combination of USB 3.0 and DisplayPort technologies in the same connector, according to a patent discovered last week. The use cases for it involve applications such as media players and even the connection of peripherals such as monitors, for example.
However, the invention goes further, by describing other techniques that can make building hardware for desktops less complex. Following a model characterized by Apple as ?modular?, the assembly of a computer would become much simpler, requiring only the installation of different components in different locations within a case designed to accommodate them.
Looking at the diagrams calmly, the company appears to be making reference to the way a Mac Pro is built, but the drawings do not exactly illustrate a Mac Pro and it is also not exactly built in the manner proposed by the invention. But some of the technical aspects are similar, like the HD bays on top of the machine and the module for installing RAM, which can also accommodate one or more processors.
Regarding the connection of peripherals, Apple gives the impression that the path to the future is to unite different interfaces when possible. In a way, it has already done this with video and audio in the current Mini DisplayPort standard, but now the addition of USB 3.0 to the game represents a huge gain for the Mac platform in the future.
This structure can not only perfectly fit hardware based on the technologies described above, but also compatible with older USB 1.0 based accessories, for example. If Apple chooses to explore these standards further, it could create smaller connectors for its gadgets, which would mean abandoning the current 30-pin dock.
Practical applications of using NFCs on iPhones
Two recently revealed Apple patents also suggest that the company continues to propose new practical applications for the use of short-range communications (Near Field Communications, or NFCs) on iPhones. One of them indicates that this technology could be used to control the main types of electronics in different situations, with the implementation of compatible hardware in all of them.
Among all the applications suggested by Apple, two deserve mention. The first one suggests the use of NFCs between a Mac and an iPhone, for controlling applications on a desktop system. Such applications would serve different purposes, ranging from productivity, entertainment and even more professional solutions, such as CAD.
The second would make an iPhone a complete solution for shopping in stores. In this way, the devices would behave as devices for reading RFID tags integrated with products from a store, which would collect information about them to streamline the payment process at a cashier, generating an invoice for purchases and carrying out their own payment operation with user information.
Apple-guaranteed product designs
The US government gave Apple several designs for products it launched on the market. They cover the external look of some models of iPods and iPhones, as well as their respective assembly processes.
Coinciding with the launch of the iAd advertising platform last week, Apple has also filed a request for the official use of this brand outside the United States. Such a request was withdrawn by the Canadian court a day after the announcement of iPhone OS 4.0.
Not all countries where Apple operates will have complications to deal with the access of the iAd brand, but that name is already used in several locations. Apparently, legally securing the rights to use it helps to avoid other companies' lawsuits.